Bishop Auckland manager Colin Myers says that his players must start games better as they continue their fight against relegation at home to Whitley Bay on Saturday.

Bishops go into today’s clash just two points above the relegation zone after Jarrow Roofing beat Newton Aycliffe and drew with West Auckland in midweek, while Bishops flopped by 6-0 at home to Sunderland RCA.

“That defeat was soul-destroying, especially after our wins against North Shields and Billingham Synthonia,” said Myers.

“We must start games well, because if we concede the first goal, then we’ll crumble like we did on Wednesday. I couldn’t believe what happened in that first half hour.

“The players must show more determination, heart and character because we if we don’t, then we’ll implode. They’re waiting for others to lead them, but they must do it themselves.

“Because of Jarrow’s improvement, then this game has become a must-win game again today.”

Keeper Adam McHugh and defender Niall McGoldrick will return after missing the midweek game, while another defender Wilf Dinsdale will have a fitness test on a head injury.

Bishops are hoping that Newton Aycliffe will do them a favour, as they are looking for revenge against Jarrow Roofing, who beat them with a late goal on Tuesday.

“It’s weird that we play the same team twice within a week in the league, but it’s a blessing because we get a chance to try and reverse the result,” said Aycliffe manager Deano Browne.

“Both teams will be looking to get a vital three points.”

Thibault Charmey, who scored four a fortnight ago at Billingham Synthonia, will have a fitness test, as will defender Dan Mitton.

West Auckland, who are third in the table and seven points clear of fourth, play Seaham Red Star, who are two points ahead of Bishops, for the second time in four days after beating them 2-1 in midweek. Striker Ben Wood and defender Jamie Cobain are both unavailable.

Manager Gary Forrest said; “The games are coming thick and fast, the lads’ attitudes have been first class, so hopefully the same again.”

Penrith, who are level on points with Bishops but have a better goal difference, are at home to relegated Billingham Synthonia.

Second placed Marske United, who are ten points behind leaders Morpeth with seven games in hand, are at North Shields, and manager Carl Jarrett will rotate his squad.

Vase finalists Stockton Town are at relegated Washington, and manager Micky Dunwell could choose the same team that won at Morpeth in the League Cup in midweek.

It’s first against second in the second division, when leaders Northallerton take on Whickham. Northallerton manager Darren Trotter adds Matty Crossen, Chris Dickinson and Aaron Ramsbottom to his squad. Whickham are a point behind Northallerton on the same games.

At the other end of the table, second bottom Brandon have a massive game at bottom club Alnwick.

Brandon manager Steve Skinner said; “We have thirteen players available for what is a six pointer for both teams. Hopefully we can play better than Wednesday when we lost to Willington, it was a lack lustre performance that we can’t afford any more.”

Crook Town, who are fifth bottom, are finally hoping to stage their home game against West Allotment, which has been postponed several times during the season. The game is taking place at Consett's ground. They will be without striker Christian Holliday because of injury, while Ryan Coles and Adam Cumby are both doubtful. Manager Chris Lax said; “We’ve had a tough few days, losing to Whickham in the last minute and then with little recovery time we played Billingham Town, but the lads dug in and got a vital win. We need the same again today.”

Third bottom Darlington RA also have a big game, against Bedlington, who are four points ahead of them. “This is a six pointer that could shape our season. We’re looking for revenge for a bad defeat in game at their place,” said assistant manager Mike Colman. Paul Griffiths and David Harrison will both have fitness tests.

If the RA lose and Brandon win, then the RA will drop to second bottom.

Tow Law, who are sixth, are at home to Hebburn, a place above them, and manager Steve Murray could choose the same side that won 5-0 in midweek.

Durham City are at Heaton Stannington, and they will be missing Matthew Stevenson and Phil Hayes, but Ste Malloy is back in the squad. “We must show a good level of performance to get something positive out of the game. I’m looking for a reaction after last week’s defeat.”

Chester-le-Street are at Billingham Town, and they have players missing who picked up injuries on Thursday night at Esh Winning. “The games are coming thick and fast, and the lads are feeling the pace already, so it will be who has that little bit of extra energy and quality that will win the game,” said manager Colin Wake. Kieran Megran, Mark Peck and Tom Iley all return to the squad.

Willington face Easington at Hall Lane, hoping to bounce back from Thursday night’s defeat by Thornaby, while Esh Winning are at Jarrow.